Health inequalities tracking into old age: examples and prospects from The English Longitudinal Study Of Ageing (ELSA)

Elizabeth Breeze, University College London
Mary Pierce, University College London
James Nazroo, University College London
Michael Marmot, University College London

ELSA is a study of 12000 people aged 50 years or over, combining economic, health, and social information. A major theme of the study is to seek understanding of why people in lower social positions appear to be suffering from age-related declines at an earlier age than people in higher social positions. Cohort members will be interviewed every two years and every four years a nurse will take various biological measurements and carry out tests of upper and lower body functioning. The interview includes diagnosed disease, symptoms and self-reported functioning. The talk will give some examples from ELSA Waves 1 and 2 of prevalent socioeconomic differences in health and biological functioning and the variation in age profile across groups in terms of adverse health states. It will then examine whether non-health aspects of quality of life show similar patterns. Finally, some future prospects for understanding inequalities will be described.

Presented in Session 45: Health and health inequalities at older ages